Arsenal 3 Fulham 1

Monday 28 January 2002

By Gary Mulcahey

Fulham Ladies Reserves ended their unbeaten run when a strong/experienced Arsenal reserve team knocked them out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage.

The pitch at Potters Bar was surprisingly very good after heavy rainfall and both teams tried to pass.

With Arsenal's first attack the ball broke to Claire Wheatley, who is on her way back from a horrendous injury, struck the ball with her right foot high into the corner. 1-0 Arsenal.

The threat of Mears and Warren was always going to be Fulham's creative area, and in the 10th minute Mears cut inside and shot only for young England Keeper Toni-Anne Wayne to drop to Collins but hit the rebound straight back at the keeper.

Both sides battled hard in midfield with Daly, Percival and Wilson running their socks off.

Arsenal went close when Maggs shot over from 12 yards and then Warren went close for Fulham.

Roxanne Bennett was putting some great balls over their midfield and one particular put Collins in who shot tamely with her left but Warren was on hand only to see her shot blocked for a corner.

Terri Warren, only 16, again had a great run and shot but well saved by the Arsenal keeper.

Second half saw 1st teamer Deena Rahman introduced for Jo Wilson, she immediately was involved showing some good touches.

On 49 minutes a fine shot by Maggs saw Holly Cox palm the ball full stretch over the bar for a magnificent save.

Arsenal put on the pressure and deservedly extended their lead with a low shot by Meg Nagana.

Collins had another good chance when put through by Rahman but she miscontrolled the ball and the chance was gone.

Arsenal scored their third which by Fulham's standards was a poor goal to concede. A corner was knocked near post, it hit Dane Katrine Petersen and young Holly Cox couldn't hold the deflection and crept over the line.

Tackles were flying and Fulham's Daly and Warren were both booked. Fulham reverted to a back three and pushed players forward, as well as introducing Carter and Clarke to add fresh legs.

From a resulting free-kick Percival struck a great shot wide of the keeper for Fulham's only goal on 83 minutes.

Although attacked there were no clear cut chances and in fact Arsenal caught Fulham on the break a couple of times, a good tackle by Petersen and save by Holly Cox keeping the score down.

Final whistle went with Arsenal going through to the Final but it was another great advert for women's football but again a shame it was not the final.

Fulham players were committed and gave 110% effort but it wasn't quite enough.